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Santorum Looks to Louisiana After Big Illinois Loss Santorum Looks to Louisiana After Big Illinois Loss

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Santorum Looks to Louisiana After Big Illinois Loss

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum speaks during a rally on Monday in Rockford, Ill.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Putting the best possible spin on a bad night for his presidential campaign, Rick Santorum told a home state crowd in Gettysburg, Pa., that he was glad to win conservative areas of southern Illinois even though he lost the state's primary on Tuesday.

Santorum congratulated Romney for his victory in Illinois but also touted the number of delegates he says he accumulated from the 54 at stake. Santorum spokeswoman Alice Stewart said that the former Pennsylvania senator could bank between 24 and 30 delegates in Illinois, although the campaign's delegate estimates have been consistently more optimistic than the tallies kept by the Associated Press and other news organizations.

Santorum also touted his prospects of winning Louisiana, which holds its primary on Saturday and has more of the white evangelical, blue-collar, and less educated voters with whom Santorum does well. He said he would continue to campaign on the theme of “freedom.”

 

“The foundational issue in this race, the one that is in fact the cause of what we're feeling, whether it's in the economy or in the budget crisis that we're dealing with, all boils down to one word,” he said. “And that's what's at stake in this election, and it's behind me on that banner, and that's freedom.”

If President Obama's health care law remains in effect, Santorum said, it will stifle Americans' personal freedom. He also insisted that the Obama plan is “interchangeable” with one that Romney supported when he was governor of Massachusetts.

“This is an election about not who's the best person to manage Washington or manage the economy,” Santorum said. “We don't need a manager. We need someone who is going to pull up government by the roots and do something in the private sector in America.”

Joking that he did not have a teleprompter at his campaign event that night, he said he will act on “not just what the pollster tells them to say or what's on their teleprompter.”

Wrapping up his remarks, Santorum once again talked about his family’s ties to rural Pennsylvania and the sacrifices of the Civil War.

“So when I speak, and I speak from the heart, in the back of my mind are the pictures of those men and women who worked and scraped and clawed so their children and grandchildren could, yes, have a better quality of life,” he said. “Most importantly, they fought for things in this battlefield just down the road. They fought for big things. Things that America's always stood for.”

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